Commercial Means To Delay Fruit Ripening: Use Of 1-methylcyclopropene

1-methylcyclopropene and fruit ripening
Image: andreas N Pixabay Stock Photo

Unwanted fruit ripening is a major issue in the supply chain when delivering fruit to the perfect ripeness to the consumer. An agent that has found extensive use is 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP), which is an inhibitor of ethylene action. It is marketed for use as a gas treatment on fresh fruit to delay fruit ripening and senescence.

This agent binds irreversibly to the ethylene receptors in plant tissues, and prevents the binding of this chemical which delays the onset of ripening in the fruit tissues (Sisler and Serek, 1997). Mango is commonly treated with 1-MCP because its main markets – the USA and Europe are thousands of miles away from its site of cultivation. The physiological responses of climacteric fruit like mango for example, to 1-MCP treatment include changes in ethylene production, lowering respiration, reduced softening, delayed or even blocked colour changes, and reduced development of volatile compounds (Penchaiya et al., 2006; Watkins, 2006).

The use of 1-MCP on mangos has been reported to delay fruit softening, delaying their climacteric peak, reducing the rate of respiration and weight loss, and improving the ascorbic acid content whilst mangos are stored (Sivakumaret al., 2011). In other studies though, 1-MCP hadno effect on mango quality (Osuna-Garcia et al., 2007) and even increasedthe incidence of stem-end rot (Hofman et al., 2001). The effective 1-MCP concentration for prolonging the shelf life of mangos was reported as between 1 and 100 μL/L (Jiang and Joyce, 2000). Lalel et al., (2003) reported less effect of low concentrations such as 1 μL/L of 1-MCP on the aroma profiles of “Kensington Pride” mangos – a popular variety.

MCP treatment has been used to delay climacteric ethylene production in ‘Galia’ melon (Ergun et al., 2005), the ‘Royal Zee’ plum (Dong et al., 2002). It is not always the case though as seen in banana (Golding et al., 1998) and avocado (Jeong et al., 2003) and in other mangoes (Wang et al., 2009).

Read the related article on ‘Mango – A Wonderful Fruit’ for info. on this commercially important fruit.


Dong, L., Lurie, S., Zhou, H.W. (2002) Effect of 1-methylcyclopropene on ripening of ‘Canino’ apricots and ‘Royal Zee’ plums. Postharvest Biol. Technol.  24  pp. 135–45.

Ergun, M., Jeong, J., Huber, D.J., Cantliffe, D.J. (2005) Suppression of ripening and softening of ‘Galia’ melons by 1-methylcyclopropene applied at pre-ripe or ripe stages of development. HortScience 40 pp. 170–5.

Golding, J.B., Shearer, D.,Wyllie, S.G., McGlasson, W.B. (1998) Application of 1-MCP and propylene to identify ethylene dependent ripening processes in mature banana fruit. Postharvest Biol. Technol.  14 pp. 87–98.

Hofman, P.J., Jobin-D´ecor, M., Meiburg, G.F., Macnish, A.J., Joyce, D.C. (2001) Ripening and quality responses of avocado, custard apple, mango and papaya fruit to 1-methylcyclopropene. Aust. J. Exp. Agric.  41  pp. 567–72.

Jeong, H., Huber, D.J., Sargent, S.A. (2003) Delay of avocado (Persea americana) fruit ripening by 1-methylcyclopropene and wax treatments. Postharvest Biol. Technol. 28 pp. 247–57.

Jiang, Y., Joyce, D.C. (2000) Effects of 1-methylcyclopropene alone and in combination with polyethylene bags on the postharvest life of mango fruit. Ann. Appl. Biol. 137 pp. 321–7.

Lalel, H.J.D., Singh, Z., Tan, S.C. (2003) Glycosidically-bound aroma volatile compounds in the skin and pulp of Kensington Pride mango fruit at different stages of maturity. Postharvest Biol. Technol.  29 pp. 205–18.

Osuna-Garcia, J.A., Caceres-Morales, I., Gonzalez, E. (2007) Effect of 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) and hot water treatment on physiology and quality of ‘Keitt’ mangos.  Revista Chapingo Serie Hortic. 13(2) pp. 157–63.

Penchaiya, P., Jansasithorn, R., Kanlayanarat, S. (2006) Effect of 1-MCP on physiological changes in mango ‘Nam Dokmai’. Acta Hortic 712  pp. 717–22.

Sisler, E.C., Serek, M. (1997) Inhibitors of ethylene responses in plants at the receptor level: recent developments. Physiol. Plant 100  pp. 577–82.

Sivakumar, D., Jiang, Y., Yahia, E.M. (2011) Maintaining mango (Mangifera indica L.) fruit quality during the export chain. Food Res Intl 44 pp. 1254–63.

Wang, B., Wang, J., Feng, X., Lin, L., Zhao, Y., Jiang, W. (2009) Effect of 1-MCP and exogenous ethylene on fruit ripening and antioxidants in stored mango. Plant Growth Regul.  57 pp. 185–92.

Watkins, C.B. (2006) The use of 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) on fruits and vegetables. Biotechnol. Adv. 24 pp. 389–409.

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